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'It Came At An Awkward Time. I Didn't Think It Would Be So Bad'

'It Came At An Awkward Time. I Didn't Think It Would Be So Bad'
By PJ Browne Updated

The Con O'Callaghan void in the Dublin football panel during the National League was filled by Con O'Callaghan speculation. The talk was that the Cuala man would be joining the Dublin hurling panel.

"No, no," O'Callaghan said on Tuesday when asked if there was anything to it.

"It had nothing to do with me. It was rumours in the background, but it had nothing to do with me."

It was an ankle injury he picked up prior to Dublin's game against Armagh in late January which kept him out of action. O'Callaghan missed all seven National League games as Dessie Farrell's side fell through the trapdoor to Division Two. After undergoing some minor surgery, he returned to the Dublin team for the Leinster quarter-final against Wexford.

"It was an ankle injury in a friendly, the week before the first league game," he explained, speaking at the launch of AIG’s Support4Drummo jersey swap fundraiser campaign.

"It just came at an awkward time. I didn't think it would be so bad. I thought it would be a few weeks.

"By the time, I was ready, it was the last league game. It came at nearly the worst possible time for the league.

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"We struggled a little bit in the league. It was difficult enough to watch. It was frustrating at times. There were elements of good performances in there, but it was a lack of consistency to play for that full 70 minutes that we struggled with.

"Even in the games where we were beaten well, there were times when we were playing well, and there were periods where a couple of things didn't go our way, and we weren't playing to our standards for the 70 minutes, and that's what hurt us.

"I'm not a great spectator. I'd prefer to be playing."

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17 May 2022; Seán Drummond with Dublin players, from left, Cian O’Callaghan, Sinéad Wylde, Aisling Maher and Con O’Callaghan at Cuala GAA Club in Dalkey to help launch AIG’s Support4Drummo jersey swap fundraiser campaign.

Dublin have swatted both Wexford (by 24 points) and Meath (by 13 points) aside in recent weeks. They may no longer be All-Ireland champions, but not much has changed in the Leinster Championship. Kildare are next up in the Leinster final at the end of the month.

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"Lads have developed into different characters in the team," O'Callaghan said about an evolving Dublin team.

"It's great to see a lot of young lads coming up, and having that impact on the pitch, and off the pitch. It's great to have that energy and enthusiasm of a lot young lads coming up. That's a different dynamic this year that's been a joy to be a part of.

"Having a genuine bond and a friendship between the players is massively important but it's also really important for performance as well. It's something that we pay a good bit of attention to. We treat it as a family in there; once you're in, you're part of that family. Hopefully, that leads to [young players] feeling comfortable, and being able to perform and express themselves.

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"It's the stuff outside the pitch. In the white heat of battle, you get to know someone, get to know what they are really like. It's stuff off the pitch too. We do events outside the pitch. It's going on a few nights out, meeting up with lads for coffee on a regular basis, and getting to know them. The lads organise team events where partners are invited. Holistically, it's building that friendship and camaraderie."

Seán Drummond is a former Cuala and Dublin GAA underage player who suffered life-changing injuries in an accident in London after finishing college exams in 2019. AIG Insurance will give over its front of jersey sponsorship to Support4Drummo in prominent upcoming games in each of the four codes. The Sean Drummond Trust will use all donations to help Sean regain as much independence and self-determination as possible. To make a donation visit: https://www.gofundme.com/f/support4drummo. Photo by Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile

See Also: 'I Had Some Troubles In My Later Teens. GAA Wasn't A Big Thing For Me'

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